Complete Blood Count Screening
What is a Complete Blood Count (with differential)?
The CBC is a very commonly ordered blood screening that measures the different types of cells in your blood.
A CBC can help to provide a general picture of one’s overall health. It tests several different components of the blood including white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.
- White Blood Cell Count – White blood cells are your body’s protectors. They help fight against infection and are an important part of the immune system.
- Red Blood Cells – Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Platelet Count – Platelets are the smallest type of cell found in the blood. They help stop bleeding by helping the blood clot after injury.
The CBC breaks down red blood cell measurements into many different values. It measures the number of red blood cells, or RBC count, the amount of hemoglobin, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume (MCV) mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), and red cell distribution width (RDW). These are all different types of red blood cells that help tell your doctor about your overall health.
The CBC also measures the number of white blood cells as well as the different kinds of white blood cells – this is what ‘differential’ means. The CBC provides information to your doctor about these different kinds of white blood cells: neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. The last kind of blood cells the CBC measures are platelets and mean platelet volume (MPV).
What Diseases/Conditions can be Identified in Your Complete Blood Count?
An increased number of white blood cells may occur with infections, appendicitis, pregnancy, leukemia, strenuous exercise, emotional distress, and/or anxiety. Low white blood cell counts make it hard for your body to fight infections, meaning you’re likely to be more prone to catch colds or other infectious diseases. Low levels of red blood cells can indicate anemia. Higher or lower levels of red blood cells can also be caused by malnutrition, bleeding, kidney or liver disease and/or dehydration.
Who May Want to Have a Blood Cell Count?
You may want to get this screening if you are experiencing:
• Shortness of breath
• Prone to bruising
• About to have surgery
Always seek the advice of your doctor if you have questions about your results.